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First Thanksgiving, Part 3: Gifts & Gratitude (a faith based story from the Story Powerline)
Thursday, November 28, 2019 by Rami Scully

(story continued from part 2)

The pilgrims were stunned to hear their Indian visitor’s perfect English. The beer he requested had run out, so they offered him brandy, roast duck, cheese, pudding, and biscuits with butter. He enjoyed it all and seemed familiar with it.

His name was Samoset, chief of the Algonquin tribe. He had learned English from fishing captains and had even traveled with them up and down the coast. So he was able to tell them about the various tribes. He said the area that they were settling used to be occupied by the Patuxet tribe, which relished killing white settlers. Four years earlier, a plague had wiped out the whole tribe.

Squanto loses everything

Samoset knew of only one Patuxet, Squanto, who had survived. Before the plague came, an English sea captain had taken Squanto to England so that Squanto could learn English in order to help the British learn about America and its tribes. While Squanto was returning to America, an unscrupulous captain captured and sold him into slavery in Spain.

Fortunately, some friars bought him for $1400, and then introduced him to faith in Jesus Christ. Later, Squanto worked for a wealthy English merchant until he could book passage back to his homeland. Six months prior to the Pilgrims’ arrival, he returned to his people. He found nothing but bones. The Massasoit Indians found him in a state of devastated depression and took him in.

Squanto adopts the Pilgrims

Samoset went to Squanto and told him about the Pilgrims. When Squanto heard of the settlers’ dreadful health and their ignorance in adapting to a new land, Squanto returned to his boyhood home and adopted the Pilgrims as his family. Without his wise help, they could not have survived.

He taught them to hoe the ground for a corn field, plant each mound with four or five corn kernels, lay three dead fish on top for fertilizer, and then guard the field against wolves for two weeks until the fish decomposed. He taught them how and when to fish and hunt, which berries were safe to eat, which herbs were for healing, and how to plant pumpkins, tap maples and refine maple syrup, and – most economically profitable – catch beaver to sell the pelts.

Surprise guests

Because of Squanto’s help and the summer’s good weather, the Pilgrims could face their second winter with thanksgiving. They invited an Indian chief to their celebration, but he brought 90 more people, and they arrived a day early. The few remaining wives must have felt overwhelmed and feared their year’s supply of food would be consumed in a day. But they prayed and offered what they had.

Instead of losing food, they gained, for the Indians brought wild turkey and deer. They also taught the pilgrims how to cook hoe cakes, make cornmeal pudding with maple syrup, and pop popcorn. Thanksgiving became a three day celebration with races, wrestling, psalms, prayers and feasting.

What the Pilgrims believed

The Bible says, “This is from the Lord and is his doing; it is marvelous in our eyes’’ (Psalm 118:23 Amplified)

Today’s prayer

Thank You, Lord, for Your marvelous works in our country’s history and in my life. Amen.

Resource

Most of the information for this story is found in The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, a fascinating account of the early history of America.

 

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